AVMF provides aid to veterinarians responsible for animal rescues

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The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, the Montgomery Animal Hospital, U.S. Coast Guard, and a team of agencies from around Louisiana rescued 12 horses stranded by rising floodwaters in Pineville, La., on March 7. Two horses were airlifted in equine rescue slings by the Cost Guard helicopters, and 10 others were carried to dry land on a barge.

The AVMF provided nearly $1,000 in aid to participating veterinarians after receiving a funding request in June.

After assessing the best options for the horses, three teams consisting of LSU equine faculty, veterinary students, technicians, and local volunteers were formed. One team prepared the animals for transportation from the flooded area, one team transported the animals on a barge, and the final team recovered the animals and conducted the medical examinations. The barge team moved 10 horses, and the remaining two were removed by helicopter, using specially designed equine rescue slings.

The animals that were to be placed on a barge were carefully anesthetized until it was moved across the water. The team then ensured that the animals had an easy recovery from the anesthesia once they reached their destination. Those that were airlifted were also heavily sedated and blindfolded to decrease stress and anxiety for the horses.

None of the horses sustained injuries during the rescue operation. After being relocated from the flooded area, one horse sustained skin abrasions from a barbed-wire fence and was treated by veterinarians.

In addition to the rescue of the horses, the Montgomery Animal Hospital worked with a local resident whose 21 head of cattle were also stranded in the rising water. The cattle were anesthetized, tied, and loaded into boats to reach higher ground.

The AVMF reimbursed LSU $465 and the Montgomery Animal Hospital $533 for the cost of the drugs and supplies that were to be used in the rescue. Additional information about the AVMF's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund can be found at www.avmf.org. To make a donation, please call (800) 248-2862, ext. 600.